HMP Macbeth – review

Published: Monday, November 4, 2013 11:12 PM | Review by: Abiola Lawal |
HMP Macbeth by Darren Raymond, Intermission Theatre HMP Macbeth by Darren Raymond, Intermission Theatre

Macbeth is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays and when I got the chance to see it again this Halloween I jumped at the chance. Intermission Youth Theatre’s adaptation of ‘The Scottish Play’ in HMP Macbeth was absolutely fantastic. Darren Raymond’s adaptation of this classic story of power, murder, betrayal and witchcraft was a joy to watch.


Set in a female prison Macbeth is played by Kwame Reed, a prison guard having a secret love affair with Lady Macbeth, who is played by Esther Odejimi. This was the actress’ debut performance and I can only see good things ahead for this young lady.

The play is absolutely brilliant and the high energy given by each cast member was fantastic, each performance was cohesive and intelligent.


The three witches, or bitches in this production, prophecy Macbeth’s rise to career glory within the prison ranks and from this moment on all hell breaks loose! The thee witches are hilarious and I loved the Nigerian spin on their characters as it captured the witchcraft and juju you find in any good Nollywood movie they were so funny and truly effective in portraying the three gruesome weird sisters.


HMP Macbeth by Darren Raymond, Intermission Theatre HMP Macbeth by Darren Raymond, Intermission Theatre

Setting the play in a female prison worked really well as the audience felt claustrophobic, trapped and you could really feel the tension that was spinning out on stage. The comradeship between the cast is real and we are taken into their prison surroundings even before we take our seats as the prison guards were outside the entrance of the theatre interrogating the audience as they entered the theatre, I loved that touch it got me feeling a bit nervous!


For those of us not so familiar with Shakespeare or a just bit rusty since studying the Bard at school the use of Shakespeare and street vernacular mixed together in this production worked. I found that we could still understand what was going on and stay connected to the production as everyone in the audience was obviously gripped, one minute we were laughing our hearts out and the next moment we were in hushed silence transfixed by the conniving workings of Lady M’s master plan and the dastardly deeds of Macbeth in his rise to power.

HMP Macbeth by Darren Raymond, Intermission Theatre HMP Macbeth by Darren Raymond, Intermission Theatre

The dialogue is witty, intelligent, comprehensive and raw.


The play is absolutely brilliant and the high energy given by each cast member was fantastic, each performance was cohesive and intelligent I can really applaud the cast as they are a talented testament to the great work that this Youth theatre is doing around London and the south east. Shakespeare’s work continues to be timeless as his stories reveal so many facets of human nature but the trick of bringing it into a new generation is in the language and this play does that wonderfully. The dialogue is witty, intelligent, comprehensive and raw. Any audience member from any background or age can relate and understand. A definite must see and I give it top marks.


Fabian Spencer's brilliant direction of this stage production brings the whole piece together into a highly entertaining, modern adaptation.


Info: HMP Macbeth is at Intermission Theatre, St Saviour’s Church until November 23, 2013. More


Related links

Darren Raymond- interview
The Playground by Intermission Theatre - review
10-10-10 by Intermission Theatre - review




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